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Early color film tests
August 24, 2010 3:04 PM   Subscribe


 
it's really eye-opening to see scenes from these decades in color. i was startled at how it removed that sense of "otherness" i feel when i see motion pictures that were taken so long ago.
posted by TrialByMedia at 3:21 PM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


It looks like reds come through especially strong. I wonder if you could pick up on enough information to restore it to the colour that was being photographed.
posted by poe at 3:30 PM on August 24, 2010


Nothing like some pretty women from the 1920s to inspire your ennui. And just before I go to see Life During Wartime...
posted by atypicalguy at 3:31 PM on August 24, 2010


Aside from the occasional splash of red, it's startling how monochromatic beach costumes were in 1912.
posted by bjork24 at 3:40 PM on August 24, 2010


It's kind of like a time machine.
posted by chillmost at 3:41 PM on August 24, 2010


These are pretty incredible without sound.
posted by swift at 3:42 PM on August 24, 2010


The models in the Kodachrome clip are silent actresses Mae Murray, Hope Hampton, and Mary Eaton.
posted by swift at 3:47 PM on August 24, 2010


These are pretty incredible without sound.

Yes, the old-timey piano music on the seaside clip is too cliche, and the new-agey music on the Kodachrome stuff seems ill-fitting. Hooray for the mute button. LOVE the Kodachrome footage, though.
posted by briank at 3:49 PM on August 24, 2010


That 1922 video is ...I don't know the word for it, haunting? Erie? Uncanny? Seeing such 20s faces in color and moving around, it's like seeing a ghost.
posted by The Whelk at 4:01 PM on August 24, 2010


Aside from the occasional splash of red, it's startling how monochromatic beach costumes were in 1912.

I suspect that beach scene has suffered a bit from age. That, of the fact of shooting outdoors somehow burned-out the colors. Here's another example of the Chronochrome process showing the saturation of color possible under more controlled circumstances.
Lots of other early color stuff at that YT page, btw.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:54 PM on August 24, 2010


It's always good to see Shirleys getting work.
posted by Chichibio at 4:57 PM on August 24, 2010


This is stunning. Hope Hampton's pout looked so astoundingly like a piece of '80s pop art, maybe a Nagel piece, that it made her look immortal for a moment. And Mae Murray's plucked, pencilled eyebrows -- it's remarkable to see that style on a young, fresh girl.

Even in their youth, I can see the old women they looked like, because the old women I grew up around must have looked like that in their youth. They look so natural, so human, and yet so unlike actresses today, who strive to look like bronze or plastic. It reminds me of the old expression "a peaches-and-cream complexion."
posted by Countess Elena at 5:03 PM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


And, here's a three-color test from around 1903, using an unidentified process.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:04 PM on August 24, 2010


Yes, the old-timey piano music on the seaside clip is too cliche, and the new-agey music on the Kodachrome stuff seems ill-fitting. Hooray for the mute button.

And hooray for absence of that Paul Simon song (name of which escapes me) in text, comment and soundtrack.
posted by hal9k at 5:06 PM on August 24, 2010


What is the music in the second clip? I actually quite like it. YouTube suggests Steve Reich, who I had never heard of. I had a listen to some of his stuff - turns out I don't find minimalism boring anymore. Mind: opened. Success!
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 5:24 PM on August 24, 2010


This is wonderful. Thanks, crunchland!

(Does anyone know the names of the pieces of music used in the 1922 Kodachrome clip?)
posted by Asparagirl at 5:25 PM on August 24, 2010


@swift: which is the one that appears at 1:12 in the Kodachrome clip
posted by SNACKeR at 6:01 PM on August 24, 2010


That 1922 video is ...I don't know the word for it, haunting? Erie? Uncanny? Seeing such 20s faces in color and moving around, it's like seeing a ghost.
posted by The Whelk at 4:01 PM on August 24 [+] [!]


I agree with the Whelk - there is an element of the uncanny about this film. It's like seeing a photo come to life somehow? It is so strange seeing these women move and pose. And seeing flickers of expression change their faces is somehow fascinating to me.

This is so great, thanks crunchland!
posted by smartypantz at 6:38 PM on August 24, 2010


(Youtube comment: "Girl #3 is hot.")

Mae Murray?
posted by swift at 7:57 PM on August 24, 2010


I just love this! Completely awesome! I can't even form complete thoughts, I just need to watch this over and over.
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:26 PM on August 24, 2010


I'm still trying to figure out if the pale white skin of the women in the 1922 video was due to the limitations of the film stock, or if it's make-up, and whether it was still fashionable to not have a tan as late as the 1920's.

I also wondered, as I was watching them, what ephemera from our age will they be looking at in 2119 and being surprised and entranced about?
posted by crunchland at 3:33 AM on August 25, 2010


Crunchland: tats
posted by Goofyy at 11:01 AM on August 25, 2010


1920s London in real color. The color fringing gives a hint of how it was done. It's really only two colors, but it's pretty amazing.
A wikipedia article about a BBC show with more of Claude Friese-Greene's work. A page explaining the process, with pictures of the original film.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:06 PM on August 25, 2010


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